Originally posted by SonicInfinity
What everybody need to understand (and I'm sure SO is beginning to) is that there aren't just government people on ATS, controlling people. There
are people on ATS who are just normal individuals, like you or me, that are only posting to create controversy - to create entertainment.
I think many of us see that. But what you're describing, in action, is exactly
what skepticism and rational discussion is supposed
Look, progressive conversation doesn't happen when people all just agree with each other, or say, 'yeah thats interesting' and move on. It happens
when people disagree
with each other, and point out differences of viewpoint, alternative interpretations, logical inconsistencies, etc.
Look at the debate forum here. Perfect example. The best debates are where the debators are being truthful to the topic
, not necessarily their own closely-held beliefs. That's
intellectual honest -- putting the facts before the ego, or making the
ego flexible enough not to have to only serve a single set of 'facts'. Entertaining without embracing: do it openly, and its not dishonest and can
be quite valuable.
The 'danger' and 'distractions' come when that process is only half-heartedly embraced. There's no service to the truth by not following up and
admitting weakness: taking a stance, trolling for contradiction, and then running away or ignoring the results instead of facing up to them.
So, rather than 'divisiveness' being a 'cancer', a sickness, consider the possible motives behind it:
1) Service to the truth: If something's 'true', it possibly should be true whether I personally agree with it or not. By presenting, honestly,
alternative interpretations and viewpoints, it gives others a chance to 'bounce their ball' off the wall, and see what kind of sound it makes.
Perhaps even, the wall crumbles a bit. If we honestly admit to that, and notice where specific example has exposed weaknesses in idealogical stances,
everyone learns. We can each take what's learned, reformulate, and move closer to true 'truthiness'.
2) Service to the ego: By taking a polarized stance, you can evoke reaction in others, validating the 'importance' of your expression to the ego.
If you can get them to logically chase you, on a trail that you define, you have 'pwned' them. This, I believe, is what you're referring to in
3) Service to the agenda: By pointing out every possible position of divisiveness, and expressing it, the waters are muddied. The volume
expression is skewed. Remember, truth-explanations of the world are fractal
- each embraced 'settled' context creates (or exposes) newer
micro-contexts within, new things to argue. By focusing the attention of the public, skewing the points of discussion to trivialities within a
certain sphere, the larger context within which that discussion is contained gains validity. Volume volume volume - hey, must be something important
there! (nb: sarcasm). This, I believe, is what the OP is referring to.
(PS: To get a little 'meta': please don't think I'm personally rebutting your post or saying you're wrong; I think you're pretty much on the
money. See what I mean?)